Showing National’s new leader what his front bench should look like, if only he shared Labour’s ideas of a politically agreeable gender and ethnic mix, wouldn’t have been the objective of the Queen’s Birthday honours list. The list would have been prepared long before the place of Maori in Todd Muller’s team triggered widespread criticism.
But the list gives a good idea of Labour’s approach to turning talk about diversification into action.
It was not posted on the Beehive website. You will find it on the site of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
But one statement posted on the Beehive site since Point of Order reported yesterday does express delight at the number of Pasifika recipients of honours.
Aupito Williams, Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, said the list provides “an abundance of examples that Pacific people’s leadership capability is unquestionable in Aotearoa”.
In total 178 people have received Queen’s Birthday honours this year, with three new dames and two new knights.
One of the dames and one of the knights are Maori.
The Maori Party quickly highlighted the political significance of the Honours List when it issued a press release:
Māori Party Co-leaders, John Tamihere and Deb Ngarewa-Packer, are rapt to celebrate the distinctive and distinguished leadership of tangata whenua talent that has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours today.
Another ministerial statement posted on the Beehive site yesterday was curiously headed Govt backing horticulture to succeed
Had there been some doubt about this?
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s statement seemed to be saying there is no doubt:
“Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our economy. During and post lockdown they’ve become a lifeline for a number of redeployed workers from industries such as tourism, forestry and hospitality,” he said.
Just to make sure, at first blush, O’Connor said the Government is backing a new $27 million project aimed at boosting sustainable horticulture production and New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery efforts.
“Our growers and producers will play a critical role in our economic recovery. The Government knows this which is why in Budget 2020 we committed $38.5 million to help the sector seize further opportunities for future growth. This adds to that investment.”
But then it became clear the government has embarked on an exercise aimed at altering production and envirnmental practices.
This is being done through A Lighter Touch, a collaboration between government and industry aimed at creating new growing methods and crop protection measures that reduce chemical use, and spur greater production.
“Our high-value overseas consumers want to know the story behind their food. They want greater assurances that the food and fibre they buy is produced in a sustainable way – and they’re willing to pay a premium for it.
“We have a great story to tell because our growers are among the most efficient and sustainable in the world. There is an opportunity for New Zealand to become the world’s preferred supplier of plant-based food products. This project will help us seize that opportunity, create more demand, generate higher export returns, and grow rural communities with new jobs.”
Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive Mike Chapman said the importance of biological methods and increasing production was reflected in the investment from the different sectors.
“Our growers want to take greater care of the environment but there are only a few viable options for pest and disease control currently.
“This is why this project is so critical. It will speed up development of agro-ecological crop protection techniques that are both environmentally sound and effective. We are excited by what this project will be able to deliver for the different sectors involved and New Zealand’s economy.”
Executives from the Foundation for Arable Research, Bragato Research Institute and Zespri expressed similarl enthusiasm for the project which – O’Connor said – will result in the horticulture, arable and wine industries working together in a way they never have before.
“This project will enable these sectors to achieve much more, and in much a shorter time, than if each worked alone. This is exactly the sort of collaboration I hope other sectors will embrace.”
The press statement explained:
- A Lighter Touch will shift the focus from traditional crop protection by carrying out research, understanding crop protection products, and integrating biological and ecological processes into food production in New Zealand.
- MPI, through its Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund, is contributing $10.8 million and industry is contributing $16.2 million over the seven-year life of the project.
- The project will help to overcome problems with achieving the necessary scale in the use of agro-ecological products, and the investment in capacity and infrastructure needed to commercialise biopesticides and biological control agents.
- If successful, this project is expected to benefit New Zealand by:
- Increasing investment in the horticulture, arable and wine sectors.
- Enhancing the value of New Zealand’s reputation and brand.
- Increasing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural, arable and wine exports.
- Increasing the diversity of New Zealand’s agricultural production.
- Introducing new technology and management know-how into New Zealand’s economy.
- Maintaining the social licence to farm for New Zealand horticulture and arable cropping.
1 JUNE 2020
Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List provides an abundance of examples that Pacific people’s leadership capability is unquestionable in Aotearoa.
1 JUNE 2020
The Government is backing a new $27 million project aimed at boosting sustainable horticulture production and New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery efforts, s